What NFL Writer Believes Are Top Two Items On Patriots’ To-Do List

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The New England Patriots are surrounded by much fewer question marks than most NFL teams, but there are a few matters at hand for the reigning Super Bowl champions.

One of the more impressive tactics throughout the Patriots’ lengthy run of success has been the franchise’s ability to both win now and more than adequately set itself up for the future. As such, it’s rather fitting Bill Barnwell’s to-do list for New England contains an item for the 2019 season, as well as beyond.

From Barnwell on ESPN.com:

Extend Tom Brady. I wrote last month about Brady’s coming contract extension. It’s still unclear how much he might leave on the table as part of a deal, but the Patriots aren’t ready for a future without their Hall of Fame signal-caller. Thankfully for the Pats, the feeling is mutual.

Keep an eye out for receivers. The Patriots have attempted to address the holes in their depth chart by drafting N’Keal Harry and signing Demaryius Thomas, Dontrelle Inman, Benjamin Watson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but none of those veterans is ever a lock to make the team or make serious contributions. (See: Holt, Torry, and Ochocinco, Chad.) Josh Gordon is theoretically on the roster, but the Patriots can’t expect the former Browns wideout to be available for any length of time.

While Bill Belichick probably doesn’t need to take a flier on any more low-cost free agents, the Pats still have $6 million in cap room and should create more as part of the Brady extension. If a difference-maker at receiver becomes available via trade, the Pats should take the plunge. A.J. Green probably isn’t leaving Cincinnati, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see someone like Mohamed Sanu or Jordan Reed become available.

We’re awfully close to entering unchartered territory as far as Brady’s contract situation is concerned. The star quarterback never has entered a season on the final year of his deal without extending beforehand. Organized team activities kicked off Monday, and there have been no reports indicating a Brady contract extension will be worked out any time soon.

Assuming a deal eventually comes to fruition, the second item on Barnwell’s list, obviously, is far more pressing. New England’s pass-catching corps has upside, but a high level of production from the collective unit is far from a guarantee. Luckily for the Patriots, their loaded backfield should help neutralize any potential shortcomings from the receivers and tight ends.

Sure, you can go ahead and worry about the Patriots if you feel so inclined. But it’s safe to say the franchise has a pretty good track record of figuring things out.

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